I have four kids, four boys! I’ve heard it all….
You’ve got your hands full! – Oh, wow! Four boys! – Are they all yours?!? – You’re a busy lady! – Are you done?! – Are you going to try for a girl?! – Wow, you’re very blessed! – You have such sweet boys – You’re a lucky momma…
My standard response to pretty much all of these is, yes. They’re good boys, I am very lucky. Today, as I was out and about with my boys, I was reflecting on what it was like when I had just one, then two, three and now four. My first was born almost 11 years ago. I’ve been a momma for awhile. And I’ve changed as my family has grown.
My first baby, so sweet and precious! I remember holding him at home when he was just about one week old, in his beautiful new nursery, in the middle of the night with tears streaming down my face because I felt so much love for him. I thought to myself that this is why God allows us to have children. So we can understand just a fraction of what His love for us is like. I loved being a mommy from the very first moment. With my first, everything came easily to me. I was out of the house after only one week. I remember cleaning, cooking, sleeping, all with a newborn in tow… Though I really appreciated the meals being delivered to me from members of our church, I didn’t really feel like I needed them. I was in many ways still a newlywed, having only been married for two years. I still wanted to play wife! The excitement of cooking and keeping a nice home hadn’t worn off. Yes, of course there were super difficult moments. Like when breast feeding proved to be waaaay more difficult than I had anticipated. I recall sitting in the nursery, by myself with both sides of me hooked up to the rented industrial breast pump because that was what I was supposed to do to get my milk to come in; and after 30 minutes I only had 2 ounces of milk! My body was four times my regular size, I had crazy water retention and all of the postpartum hormones were raging through me. Yes, there were definitely some not so pleasant moments. But, for the most part, I felt really good about motherhood. This was what I was meant to do, I was sure of it!
Early in my pregnancy with my second baby I was sure I was going to have a girl! Because that’s what happens. You have one of each then you’re done! Nope, boy #2 was on his way. After I got my second boy, I decided to embrace being a boy mom. And I truly do love it! I feel very suited being a mom of just boys. My first two kids are 22 months apart in age, so that first year with baby #2 was really tough. I still have absolutely no idea how I got through that first year, it’s all a blur. I know I woke up at least three times a night, every night that first year of his life. I remember feeling so concerned that I wouldn’t be able to love another child the way I loved my first. My heart was already so full. It’s absolutely incredible how God just expands your heart! How was it even possible to love a second baby just as much as the first!? This boy has had a tight hold on my heart since the day he was born! Then an incredible thing happened, once my spunky little redhead turned one year old, he was a breeze!! So loving, cuddly, fun and such a great kid, so easy! All it took for him to start sleeping through the night was to be finished nursing! Who knew??! Once that first super difficult first year was over, I felt like I found my groove as a momma. I was sure that I was finished having children so I stopped thinking about babies, I started exercising, cooking yummy healthy meals, I became a homeschooling mom, started gardening, really got into home diy projects and decorating, and I loved every bit of it! I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be!
We have a six year gap here. We thought we were finished having children after just two, but changed our minds! In my family, you just have two kids and then you’re done! I realized that my hubby and I had never really discussed being finished having children. I just decided we were finished. When I went to him and apologized, he expressed how much he would love to have another baby. So we made a choice. After my hubby had a vasectomy and two reversals (because the first reversal didn’t work), we got pregnant with a very much wanted and desired third child. I was really excited! A lot of my friends had large families and I loved the dynamic they had in their homes. I thought that maybe I could have a girl this time, but I wasn’t surprised or at all disappointed when I found out that baby number three was a boy. This was my best pregnancy, best birth and best first year with a baby! Having older children to help me, an appreciation for how fast these kids grow, and being an experienced mommy were the perfect combination for everything to go wonderfully. It was almost like having a first born again, but knowing to slow down and savor every moment. And I really did that!! It was a beautiful time, except for one thing! My most vivid memories of this time are of all the wonderful parts. It’s funny how God makes you forget the hard parts over time when it comes to pregnancy and babies. But when I think back, I remember that I really struggled with postpartum depression for the first few months after my son’s birth. I’d never dealt with this before and at first I just thought I was literally going crazy. That there was something seriously wrong with me. Luckily, I had some really great friends in my life who were able to help me through it, who had gone through similar struggles. In hindsight, I should have talked to my doctor. Luckily, it subsided by the time my baby was six months old. This little guy is two and a half now and he is always happy, very loud and super energetic! It’s a full time job keeping up with this kiddo! He definitely challenges me as a momma in these toddler years, (sleep regression is a thing!!) but he’s the third to steal my heart and make all of the moments worth it.
Like I said, God has a way of only allowing us to remember the good during pregnancy and the the first year of babies. I’m still in the first year with baby number four. He’s eight months old today! I have to say, with four kids, I have officially met my match. This little guy isn’t an especially difficult baby, he’s actually quite chill in many ways, which is rare for my children. He’s just the fourth. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to balance my time with all of my kids. For the first time, I’m questioning whether or not I’m cut out for this parenting thing. I don’t know if it’s the combination of the four different ages of my children or that I’m still in that sleep deprived first year, but I don’t think I’m as good at this as I thought I was all those years ago when I had my first baby. I do still love to keep a lovely home and create lovely meals for my family. I do still feel like being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever done. I have zero regrets in choosing this life. I love my family and my life so much, I truly am blessed. It’s just a little more difficult than it was with just one or two, or even three. Four is the magical number that has humbled me as a mom. At this point, I’m just doing the best I can to get through the day without pulling all of my hair out. Of course it’s beyond worth it. I know from experience that life will return to normal. I will get my body back in shape, I’ll start spending time outside again gardening and tending to my mini farm. I’ll have the time and energy to do extra fun homeschool projects and home diy projects. Exercise, hiking and bike rides are all right around the corner. I’m really excited about this life God has given me, even though it’s hard right now! And just for the record, this fourth little boy is just as sweet and cute as the others. He’s smart, happy, energetic, curious and he’s expanded my heart even more than I thought possible. I’m still in awe at how God can do that to a momma’s heart!
What it all comes down to is that it’s all good. I’ve grown and changed with each new child that has been introduced into my family. I’ve learned to allow imperfection, because I’m far from perfect. With four kids, I have trouble getting out of the house. Honestly, sometimes I have trouble making time to just get dressed! Really doing anything productive is pretty difficult these days. That’s all okay though because my kids are happy, thriving, good boys. Yes, I am a busy lady and yes, I do have my hands full, but my heart is even more full. Full and expanded four times its original size… and my boys are good boys and I am very lucky!